EDUCATION

Arizona passes nation's 1st law requiring high school students to pass civics citizenship test

Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, front, gives his state-of-the-state address as Arizona House speaker David Gowan, left, R-Sierra Vista, and Arizona Senate President Andy Biggs, right, R-Gilbert, listen at the Arizona Capitol Monday, Jan. 12, 2015, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, front, gives his state-of-the-state address as Arizona House speaker David Gowan, left, R-Sierra Vista, and Arizona Senate President Andy Biggs, right, R-Gilbert, listen at the Arizona Capitol Monday, Jan. 12, 2015, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)  (The Associated Press)

Arizona has become the first state in the nation to require high school students to pass a civics exam before graduation.

The swift action by the Arizona Legislature comes as states around the country take up similar measures. The proposal requires high school students to correctly answer 60 of 100 questions on the civics portion of the U.S. citizenship test.

The test is being pushed nationally by the Scottsdale-based Joe Foss Institute, which has set a goal of having all 50 states adopt it by 2017, the 230th anniversary of the U.S. Constitution.

The institute says legislatures in 15 states are expected to consider it this year.

Critics questioned the message the bill sends at a time when Arizona is facing a deficit and education funding crisis.